The Coast Guard, as it continues to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on the maritime industry and mariners, has issued another extension to merchant mariner credentials (MMCs).

The Coast Guard has posted Change 5 to MSIB 08-20, titled "Covid-19 – Mariner Credentials," which updates information on extensions to MMCs, medical certificates and course approvals

The following significant changes are provided in Change 5 to MSIB 08-20:

  • Merchant mariner credentials, both national and STCW, and medical certificates that expire between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, are extended. The credentials are extended to the earlier of Oct. 31, 2021, or one year from the expiration date of the credential. This reflects the fact that the Coast Guard statutory authority to extend credentials is limited to one year.
  • In light of the recent closures of Regional Examination Centers to the public, approval to test letters and course approval certificates that expire between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, are extended to Oct. 31, 2021.

The Coast Guard is encouraging all mariners, ship owners and operators and providers of Coast Guard-approved training to read MSIB 08-20, Change 5 carefully. While the Coast Guard has provided the extensions noted in the MSIB, mariners and training providers are strongly encouraged to fulfill the requirements and submit applications as early as possible in order to avoid a lapse in their credential or training approval. Similarly, training providers need to submit their application early to avoid expiration of their current approval.

If you have questions, please contact the National Maritime Center by using the NMC’s online chat system available at, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 1-888-IASKNMC (472-5662).

The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic and will make the necessary adjustments to ensure the continuity of maritime transportation.